Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you wear red coats?

Military musicians of the period wore the reverse colors of the regiments to which they were assigned. According to General Orders, signed by General George Washington October 2, 1779, regiments from Virginia were to wear Blue Coats with Red Facing [Trim]. Thus, the Fife and Drum Corps wears red coats with blue facing.

Is this your full-time job?

Musicians in the Corps are full-time, Active Duty Soldiers in the United States Army. Our Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) is 42S – Special Band Musician. All Soldiers must complete Basic Combat Training upon entering the Army, and Soldier-Musicians are no exception. An assignment to The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps is a permanent duty assignment, which means Soldiers remain a member of the Corps for their entire enlistment.

I only saw a small group perform – is that all the members you have in the Unit?

The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps’ unique capabilities allow us the flexibility to perform in a wide range of settings. Our performances include many different sizes, configurations and content that is appropriate for a variety of venues and audiences.

What is the painting on the drums?

The painting on the front of the drums is the regimental colors of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). In the center is the Old Guard Crest, of which each element holds symbolism for the unit. Around the edges are battle streamers for every campaign The Old Guard has participated in.

What is the spear the Drum Major uses? What about the hat?

The Drum Major of the Corps carries an Espontoon, an 18th century weapon that was carried by officers. It is used by the Drum Major to issue silent commands to the Corps. The Drum Major also wears the Light Infantry Cap, made of leather and bear fur. The red waist sash and baldric with two drum sticks further distinguish the Drum Major from other members of the Corps.

Where do you get your music from?

Our Production Staff writes and arranges all music and marching drill performed by the Corps. Soldiers are chosen for Production Staff following a rigorous selection process. An extensive knowledge of and experience with music, arranging, traditional music history, and drill writing is essential. Music is drawn from our own extensive collection at The United States Army Center for Martial Music.

How can I get a recording?

Recordings are available to download for free on our website here. Photographs, videos, and other media are also available. Please visit one of our Social Media link below here.

How do I request the Fife and Drum Corps?

The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, when requested and in appropriate situations, can take part in public events sponsored by non-military organizations. The U.S. Army Military District of Washington facilitates requests for such support. Approval and tasking authority is exercised according to governing regulations and practices. More information about requesting the Corps can be found here.